NYLPI Celebrates Social Work Month 2021

March 25, 2021

Community Justice, Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, News

NYLPI proudly recognizes and celebrates our social workers and social work interns during Social Work Month. True to 2021’s theme, “Social Workers Are Essential,” NYLPI’s social workers are essential to our work serving our client communities. They work with our clients to overcome individual and systemic barriers and play a critical role in our fight for social justice in New York.  

Our social work interns are pleased to share stories about their work at NYLPI: 

“At NYLPI I have been afforded the opportunity to work in various social work capacities, from clinical to policy. This wide-ranging work has allowed me to witness the multiple avenues organizations utilize towards social change. As NYLPI focuses on community empowerment, I have had the privilege of speaking with community members about their experiences during COVID-19 as people with disabilities. I have been able to advocate for parents seeking special education services, conducting intakes and providing resources to aid them in ensuring their children receive a strong education. For all who seek NYLPI’s support, the basis for asking comes down to wanting a better life — and this is especially true within my experience with NYLPI’s Health Justice UndocuCare work, working with asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and unspeakable violence.

Being part of a legal organization like NYLPI, I have also come to appreciate the import of interdisciplinary work within the social work profession. From working alongside incredible, skilled attorneys, I have learned a great deal about the intricacies of the law, including its limitations, as well as its proper enforcement. From my work in NYLPI’s Disability Justice program working on criminal justice reform, I have come to understand the harmfulness and harshness of police response to mental health crises, costing lives in many cases. Researching alternative responses and compiling a report detailing individuals’ experiences with police brutality upon experiencing crises, I have been grateful to be a part of pursuing change in this area. This, along with all the other incredible work I have been able to do at NYLPI, has instilled a deep respect for the significance of social workers in meeting the immediate as well as long-term needs of all sorts of clients, engaging with populations most at risk and continuously meeting the needs of the day.”

-Social Work Intern Alison Abrams


“As a social work intern at NYLPI I have had the chance to serve the community in a variety of unique and meaningful ways. As a second-year MSW student, I chose to have my field placement at NYLPI in order to work alongside lawyers, advocates, and social workers, within teams that serve New Yorkers through NYLPI’s Health Justice, Environmental Justice, and Disability Justice programs. An essential part of my work as a social work intern this year, in all three programs, has been helping community members gain services and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the special education work within the Disability Justice program has largely centered on parents and caregivers advocating for their children’s rights to services and resources during remote schooling. Intakes and cases I have been fortunate to help with in the Health Justice program also largely surround issues related to COVID’s impact on low-income immigrant communities of color; the adversity that this population has faced throughout the past year is exponential. Projects and research in the Environmental Justice program have also highlighted the needs of low income communities of color, especially in the way that their homes, schools, and neighborhoods are polluted and exploited by environmental harm.

Overall, my experience as a social work intern at NYLPI has showcased so many real-life examples of the way that intersectionality is vital to understand in the field of social work. Social work is essential this year (and always), and the experience of learning and practicing my skills at NYLPI has been both gratifying and crucial to my growth in the profession.”

-Social Work Intern Kaleigh Galvin


“The direct impact that we’re able to have on our clients’ lives has demonstrated to me how important social work is, especially in a legal setting like NYLPI. When clients call us, they may be looking for legal services, or they may simply be in need of guidance as they navigate complicated bureaucracies to access services for themselves or their loved ones. Both are important to our clients. As a social work intern, I have loved working with clients in our Disability Justice and Health Justice units. In my day-to-day work at NYLPI, I work with parents who are trying to find the best school for their child, and with undocumented immigrants, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, who are trying to access health care. My goal with every client is to ease the process of accessing services that they are legally entitled to — with warmth, compassion and respect.

As a first-year Master of Social Work student, I am at the beginning of my social work career. NYLPI has been an incredible place to learn, both because of the amazing social workers, attorneys and advocates on staff and because of the clients, who I learn from every time I speak with them. Not only are our clients the experts on their own situations and experiences, but they also know the systems that they are part of — whether that’s NYC’s school system, the U.S. immigration system, or something else — inside out. It has been an invaluable experience working with and learning from them.”

-Social Work Intern Claire Perlman

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